Different ways to help small businesses

It pumps out much of the growth in good times, and suffers much of the blood-letting in bad. And things have been bad: Since 2007, the state has lost about 8 percent of its jobs.

While the data doesn’t yet show how much of the loss has come from small business, the anecdotal evidence is disheartening.

Small firms are innovative, agile and energetic, but also lean and vulnerable. Dependent on an entrepreneur’s savings or the willingness of banks to lend, they can quickly exploit a sunny market, but may not survive a storm.

Before the recession struck, about 17 percent of the jobs in Georgia’s private sector were in firms with fewer than 20 employees. About one-third were in companies that had fewer than 100 people on the payroll, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For some companies, there has not been enough business. Others would expand but cannot get the capital they need.

The most commonly debated ideas for protecting small businesses and spurring new hiring involve breaks and tax credits.

But there are others.

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